MAK­ING A BEELINE FOR PAPER GIFTS

A shop in Pe­nang takes pride in cater­ing to cus­tomers’ needs

New Straits Times - - News -

MO­HAMED BASYIR GE­ORGE TOWN news@nst.com.my

FAM­I­LIES who want to make paper of­fer­ings or gifts to their de­parted loved ones dur­ing the Qing Ming fes­ti­val will be spoilt for choice based on the nu­mer­ous shops sell­ing the prayer para­pher­na­lia here.

Eng Ong Heong Trad­ing, lo­cated in Jalan Burmah here, is a fa­mous shop that sells a va­ri­ety of items such as repli­cas of fast-food meals, gad­gets and bun­ga­lows.

Denise Ng, 39, said he had been buy­ing paper repli­cas of ma­te­rial goods for his late mother at the place for the past three years.

“My mum al­ways wanted to live in a bun­ga­low, but it was dif­fi­cult for her to own one con­sid­er­ing the steep prices of houses here.

“The least I could do is to present her with a paper replica of a bun­ga­low with the hope that she would be happy in the af­ter­world,” he said here yes­ter­day.

Qing Ming, or All Souls Day, falls on April 4 this year.

It is an elab­o­rate fam­ily event or a clan feast to com­mem­o­rate the de­ceased and an­ces­tors by mak­ing of­fer­ings at home al­tars, clan tem­ples or makeshift al­tars in Bud­dhist or Taoist tem­ples.

An­other cus­tomer, who only wanted to be known as Jenny, was spot­ted buy­ing at­tire for her late sis­ter at the shop.

Jenny said her late sis­ter loved to wear tra­di­tional Baba and Ny­onya out­fits when she was young.

“The shop of­fers the out­fits at rea­son­able prices and the qual­ity is good, too, al­though they are made of paper. That is why I shop here,” she said.

Eng Ong Heong Trad­ing co-owner An­geli Choo said she had a new paper gift every year to at­tract cus­tomers.

“Last year, one of my cus­tomers wanted a scarf (sim­i­lar to the one owned by her late mother) as an of­fer­ing be­cause her mum loved to wear it.

“Un­for­tu­nately, I had to turn down her re­quest.

“It then struck me that I had not seen other shops sell­ing that item. So, I made a spe­cial or­der via my sup­plier.

“It has been the hottest sell­ing item in the past three weeks.”

Choo said she or­dered a few hun­dreds of the scarf with­out any ex­pec­ta­tions that it would be sold out even be­fore the day of the fes­ti­val.

As of yes­ter­day, only three scarves were left. They are sold be­tween RM18 and RM28 ac­cord­ing to the length and colour.

It can be bought to­gether with a Baba and Ny­onya paper out­fit for RM50 and above, or sep­a­rately.

Prices of lo­cally made lux­ury paper items can reach up to RM400 each, while those from China cost more.

PIC BY DANIAL SAAD

Eng Ong Heong Trad­ing co-owner An­geli Choo show­ing the paper items at her shop in Ge­orge Town.

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